I don’t know about you, but I know when I eat an oversize carb, such as a bowl of pasta or even a couple of pumpkin muffins, my stomach feels full in an uncomfortable way, when only hours before leading up to that meal, my stomach felt perfectly fine. In contrast, when eating a healthy green salad or veggies and fish, I leave the table feeling satisfied but not overstuffed.
That brings me to my decision to go the route of “clean eating” completely. I have dabbled in this lifestyle of eating, but never ventured fully into it since I do love my fried egg sandwiches from Manhattan Bagel and sweet dessert endings when dining out. While I do eat 85-90% healthy, I don’t eat healthy enough. And after eating a serving of tortellini with pesto, and feeling my stomach feel heavy once again, I really started to question my eating decisions.
As a woman in her 40s, I still eat like I’m in my 20s, thanks to my high metabolism; but at the same time, I know my high metabolism isn’t as high as I was when I was 20; it was even higher. I really should be tweaking my daily intake before it does finally catch up with me. Then I reminded myself of the golden rule – diet is everything – as 80% of what you look like is due to what you are consuming.
And with that, like a switch, I joined the ranks of clean eaters, like Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie and many other health-conscious eaters, and began indulging in this very healthy way of eating. Many eat clean to lose weight, maintain weight or achieve a fitness goal. I am doing so for a healthier lifestyle and maintain my younger-than-my-years’ physique. Yes, no more processed foods. No more sweet treats; well, once in awhile perhaps. I am very discipline by nature, so the instant switch should be no sweat. The foods in eating clean will not only make one look their best and feel great, but energy levels will increase, calories will be burned more efficient, and that much disliked heavy stomach feeling will be eliminated.
When eating clean, the daily meals area a combination of lean means, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats which keeps blood sugar levels stable and wards off hunger. It takes discipline, but you have to remind yourself of all the long-term health benefits for your body. The foods in this eating lifestyle are natural, free of added sugars, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats and anything else that is unnatural, unnecessary and unhealthy. Meals are more frequent, three main ones and two to three small snacks a day, to rev up your metabolism and curb your appetite.
When grocery shopping, one thing to keep in mind is that you want to look for as many one-ingredient foods as possible, staying clear of foods made with white flour, sugar and sugar substitutes, saturated fats and trans-fats. Read the labels of foods having more than one ingredient. Select whole grains and complex carbohydrates which will give you more energy and keep you feeling fuller longer. Pick up lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are full of natural sugar and can satisfy your sweet tooth. Choose lean meats, chicken and fish for your protein power. And remember to grab raw and unsalted nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts and peanuts, which make great flavorful snacks. You will find a lot of great recipes online that support clean eating, as well as books and periodicals in stores.
The following is a sample of my eating clean for a day.
Breakfast: Hot oatmeal with fresh blueberries and sprinkle of cinnamon paired with a whole fruit (usually a banana).
Mid-Morning Snack: A melody of fresh berries or a handful of almonds.
Lunch: Mixed green salad with a six-ounce grilled chicken.
Mid-Day Snack: A serving of crunchy miniature carrots.
Dinner: Pan-seared halibut, steamed asparagus, brown rice.
Beverage: Plenty of water, at least two liters a day. An added twist of lemon is sometimes nice.
Dining out is just as easy as cooking in when eating clean, and I do tend to eat out frequently. Just the other night I have a great spinach salad for dinner, complete with hard-boiled eggs, pine nuts, chopped tomatoes and grilled shrimp – at an Italian restaurant. It was delicious! Plus my stomach felt light and satisfied! My four other dining companions divulged in large pasta platters with servings of bread. None of them completed their meals and, with doggie bags in tow, all felt full and heavy. One even said to me, “I should have had what you ate.”
In no time at all, making healthy eating decisions will become second natural. And with summer right around the corner, it’s a great time to start before slipping back into that slim bikini. Before you will know it, you will realize how wonderful you feel and great you look since changing your eating lifestyle. I highly recommend trying clean eating, even just for a period of time. You can then judge for yourself. Pretty soon I might see you blogging about eating clean as well. See you at the beach!
Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.